Modern brush calligraphy – festive metallics with Kirsten Burke

Calligraphy and lettercutting

Ref: S1D12238

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About this course

Turn your hand to modern brush calligraphy and add a touch of festive sparkle with stunning metallic elements for cards and gifts.

Course Description

This fun workshop will teach you how to add some Christmas sparkle to your calligraphy, with stunning metallics. We will show you how to create beautiful brush lettering, guiding you through letter formation, composition and colour blending with metallics. Depending on your level of ability, you will either work using templates, or create your own freehand compositions. We will talk about the rules and learn which ones we must follow, and which ones we can play with and bend in order to create stunning modern compositions that dance around the page.

We will look at balance and how to adjust letterforms to create atmosphere, using alphabet families with a Christmassy spin. You will then add some festive glitz to your work, using a variety of different metallic techniques. You will learn how to use solid-state metallic paints like Finetec, as well as embossing powders and foiling sheets with foil transfer glue. You will also be guided through working on a rounded surface, so that you can work directly onto a Christmas bauble. The aim is to introduce you, not only to modern brush calligraphy, but also to the various techniques involved in adding metallics to card-based crafts. You will be able to take away your alphabet guides and templates, which will enable you to continue to practise your lettering at home, as well as your beautiful artwork or card, and of course, your finished bauble.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • All the materials required for this course, including templates, pencil, erasers, brush pens, brushes, embossing powders, foils, foiling gum, embossing heat guns and baubles

What students need to bring

  • You do not need to bring anything, but if you would like to think of a particular phrase to put on your artwork or card, or a word for your bauble, that would be great.

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • A variety of coloured sets of felt and fibre brush pens, Finetec metallic paints, brush calligraphy kits and Kirsten Burke’s book on the Secrets of Brush Calligraphy will be available from the tutor (you can pay the tutor by cash, cheque, card).
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


Kirsten Burke

Kirsten Burke is one of the UK's leading contemporary lettering artists. She gained a BA Hons in Graphic Design and a Postgrad in Calligraphy from Roehampton. She has had four books published and sold 10 million greeting cards. Her work is exhibited in numerous museums nationwide, including a 13 metre mural for Shakespeare's Globe.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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